U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, (R)-Kansas, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, late last night was selected to serve on the conference committee tasked with ironing out the differences in the Senate and House passed Farm Bills.
“I look forward to representing the views of Kansas farmers and ranchers as we continue to work toward a farm bill,” Roberts said. “I want certainty for producers and will fight to protect crop insurance and programs critical to livestock producers who are still suffering due to drought.”
Senator Roberts voted against the Senate Farm Bill in committee and on the floor because it creates a new target price program, Adverse Market Payments, that sets certain commodity prices so high it will pay producers more than the cost of production.
Roberts said the bill looks in the rearview mirror for outdated policies that cause the farmer to plant for the government and not the market. The effect of this interference will be extended periods of depressed prices and excess supplies.
“I will work to preserve some of the provisions in the Senate bill including restored disaster aid to livestock producers, enhanced conservation programs, innovative approaches for agriculture research and improved crop insurance,” Roberts said.
The House passed Farm Bill does not contain language on nutrition programs.
“Obviously there is much work to be done on the nutrition title. I have called for more reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” Roberts said. “We can restore integrity to the program and save the taxpayer more than the $4 billion included in the Senate bill.”
Senator Roberts introduced legislation, S. 458, The Improve Nutrition Program Integrity and Deficit Reduction Act to save the taxpayer $31 billion and restore integrity to SNAP.
Senator Roberts is a former Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Last year the full Senate passed a bipartisan Farm Bill introduced by then Ranking Member Roberts and Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) that eliminated target prices. He is the first member of Congress in history to serve as both Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and Ranking of the Senate Agriculture Committee.